Skate 3 (Xbox One BC Review)

EA have made some questionable decisions over the years. We demanded they made a sequel to Mirror's Edge, then they came up with a half-baked prequel that instantly felt like it successfully cashed in on everything that was wrong with modern gaming.

They've turned the Need for Speed franchise into some horrific FMV-filled brodude mess with unsatisfying driving and a 'storyline' (if you can call it that) to make a hyena cry.

They've also never quite understood the appeal of the "Skate" series, canning developer Black Box and failing to anticipate the sheer monstrous sales numbers for Skate 3.

Though, oddly it's now one of the titles that's cropped up as an Xbox One Backwards Compatible game. So perhaps someone somewhere recognises that there are an awful lot of people who still want to play this.

A large part of its appeal is the seamless integration between doing something in the game, and uploading that footage to YouTube. Famous gaming streamers such as Pewdepie and many others have instantly found fame sharing their videos of their ridiculous exploits in Skate 3.

I bought the game at launch back on the Xbox 360, largely because I'd really loved both the previous versions.

Skate 3 refined the game's core dynamic of scooting around a huge cityscape on a plank of wood with tiny wheels attached, performing tricks and stunts to boost your reputation.

The Skate series always kicks off with a hilarious intro movie (and Skate 3 does not disappoint, starting off with a bizarre hunting trip, going through chopping down a tree and turning the tree into a plank, then a skateboard, then delivering it to your sweaty hands through the hands of many, many skate professionals who hilariously crop up in the vid). Then you enter the game after a horrific accident sees you needing to rebuild your body (via the game's 'design a skater' thingamijig) before trying to claw back your place as top skateboarder on the planet.

Once you've passed through a swift set of tutorials you're let loose in the city to seek out places to trick and stunt, to complete challenges left by other skaters, or just to notch up bazillions of points with a bunch of your fellow skate crew members.

BC-wise not much has changed, the game was always pretty smooth and robust (though some of the glitches are awesome!)

Gonna steal me a pick-er-nic table!
Playing the game with the Xbox One Pad (which is a glorious piece of engineering if ever I saw one) is hugely satisfying and I was soon back in the game proper, pulling off some stunts with my preferred avatar (I've got a bit of a superstition that in every single game I play where you get to design your own character, I always design one that looks like my wife because - believe me - there are worse things to do in the world than stare at her shapely behind as you skate around).

It's interesting to see EA's faux surprise at the loud clamouring for a new Skate game. I'm guessing that one of the reasons it hasn't happened this generation is because they see the absolute shitcake going on with the other big Skateboarding game franchise that Skate buried in the dirt long ago and want no part of that (Tony Hawks Pro Skater - which did make a release on consoles but ended up being an absolute bugfest-raddled tragedy of a game not fit to lick Skate 3's boots).

The other reason could be that EA just doesn't have a team that could pull this off any more. Black Box have been more or less dismantled, and it would take a particular type of team to give Skate its humour and fun - and I firmly believe that DICE or any of the other EA first-line development teams just cannot pull that off. Similarly, it's the reason you'll probably never ever see another Burnout game (and Burnout Paradise has just hit BC too - so at least you can play historically brilliant EA games even if they've lost their way entirely with new stuff).

It's a brilliant game still, and one I was happy to let my daughter loose on (she loves it to bits even though all she seems to do is skate around like a loon).

Hookability: Hugely addictive still, one of those games you claim you'll just dip into for 10 mins and end up there hours later.

Lastability: Amazing to think that this game is 8 years old and still as brilliant as it was when originally released.

Playability: Fun, smooth, and really nice to play with the Xbox One pad.

Overall: The best skateboarding game ever but what I wouldn't give to see Skate 4 actually happen.


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